Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating a (Primarily) Plant-Based Diet

Day 144.

It's a natural tendency for me. I don't eat meat on bones. Fat on meat disgusts me. I don't like any seafood -- anything at all that lives in water, for that matter. I don't care for the taste of chicken or pork. I do love a juicy Porterhouse steak (after my darling husband has removed the bone for me), and I love me a good burger. I love crispy bacon, but only if it doesn't have that bit of mushy fat at the end that doesn't crisp up.

Gee, I wonder where Picky Eater gets her tendencies?

But really, it's natural for me to want to move toward a plant-based diet. The catch is that my husband loves all meats and sea foods and always will. So, in order for me to be able to eat what I want, I am looking at duplicate cooking most nights. (I cook in the house. It's how it works here. Please don't see me as the Little Wife in the kitchen -- I'm not. ;) It's just my contribution. He works, I cook.)

My husband isn't the type to refuse food if it's not meat and potatoes. He loves casseroles, beans, even lentils! But right now he's low carbin' it so it'll be tricky. While our dinner cooked tonight I pan-fried him a  steak and a couple eggs and served some broccoli for greenery.

Batch cooking is going to work well for us during this diet. A big batch of low-carb meatballs should last him a week or so. Meanwhile, I can cook more meatless meals for the rest of us.

Here's what we had tonight:

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells
serves 8

What You Need:
  • 1 package jumbo shells, cooked al dente, drained, and rinsed in cold water
  • 4 cups of cooked, drained beans (2 cans will work) -- I used half pinto, half Great Northern for color
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 16 oz cottage cheese (or ricotta, or tofu)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
How it's Done:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute the onion in the melted butter for a few minutes, until the onion is see-through. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach, beans, garlic, 2 tsp of the Italian seasoning, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the cheddar, and the egg.
  3. Stir together the tomato sauce with the remaining 1 tsp Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Fill each shell with the bean mixture and set them, sides touching, in a 9x11" baking dish with high sides.
  5. Pour tomato sauce evenly over the shells. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar.
  6. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.


heather said...

I've made a very similar version of this and they are yummy. I used black beans though. it was inspired by the black bean and spinach egg rolls that are divine!

Jenn said...

I love stuffed shells. Mine usually just consist of cheese though. These sound fantastic!

Andrea said...

These look really good!! My 3 yr old would love them, cheese & beans, 2 of her favorite foods :)

I'm there with you on the picky tendancies, I like lots of foods but I like them prepared MY way :) Its hard being a foodie sometimes LOL :)

Stephanie said...

My husband is the same way, he is all about the meat and potatoes. I on the other hand could eat a totally plant based diet. I completely understand the dilemma.

a soldier's wife said...

I am looking forward to trying these next week! They look and sound delicious!

Michelle said...

Awesome Soldier's Wife! Let me know what you think!

Samara Link said...

What you're doing for your family is amazing. I hope they know how lucky they are. I just love how many vegetarian ideas you have here! I gave up all meal except seafood in 2009. In 2010, I went all the way. I'm not vegan, just vegetarian. I also agree ... there are too many people eating processed junk out there. Eating is so much more enjoyable with fresh ingredients and real flavors. So, for those reasons, I am in heaven with all the posting you do!

Tonight, I made this dish. What an excellent meal when paired with a simple salad. I don't normally love stuffed shells because I think they're too mushy and lack flavor. Not these! My husband and I thought the beans really added nice texture and the flavor was excellent. Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

Michelle said...

Thank you, Samara! I love this dish, too. So much, in fact, that I keep wanting to put it back on my menu! I will be doing mostly vegetarian posts from this point forward. There will be meat posts, because my husband eats lots of the stuff, but I just prefer plants. :)

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